Last week I received a letter from Olivia Wingate-Carsington, the heroine from Loretta Chase's newest release Last Night's Scandal. Intrigued by Lady Olivia's view of the author and story itself, I have decided to share this piece of correspondence with the RT Readers. Enjoy!
I was made aware a short time ago that you had requested Loretta Chase to write an Essay or Divertissement or some such regarding her latest Romantic Novel, Last Night’s Scandal, in general and Olivia Wingate-Carsington—that is to say, me—in particular. I considered protesting on Grounds that she is not entirely trustworthy as regards facts. Few Authors are, even those of my own Sex, (though I admit the Ladies are less liable than the Gentlemen to exaggerate their Prowess (in all Categories).
However, a formal Protest has proved unnecessary, since, due to an Unfortunate Series of Events, her Essay has Disappeared in Mysterious Circumstances. Rather than Trouble her with this Information when she is industriously Working on a New Romantic Novel, I shall undertake to Explain the True State of Affairs.
It pains me to report that, in Last Night’s Scandal, Madam Authoress has let her Imagination Run Away with her. Though she does not say so directly, she broadly hints that I was pining for the Earl of Lisle for ten long years, ever since the Thrilling End of our first Journey together (described, with the Author’s usual Nonchalant Disregard for Veracity, in a previous Tale, Lord Perfect).
Pray do not let Sentiment lead you astray, but consider the matter logically: A Young Lady who is Infatuated with a Young Gentleman would not do everything in her power to keep that Gentleman on another Continent. True, Lisle was sent away to Egypt in the first place only because his Ridiculous Parents regarded me as a BAD INFLUENCE from whom he must be got as far away as possible. However, they would have summoned him Home ages ago had I not Dedicated myself to Foiling their Selfish Schemes. This has been far from easy, considering that my Innocent Quests for Knowledge and Experience are most usually Completely Misunderstood, and I am constantly being sent out of London to Rusticate in Derbyshire while the Scandal Dies Down.
I scorn to defend myself against Calumnies perpetrated by a Narrow-Minded Society and untrustworthy Former Friends like Sophy Hubble, the tattletale. It is unnecessary, I am sure, to point out to Discerning Individuals such as your Gentle Readers that I studied the new Illustrated Edition of Fanny Hill purely for Educational Purposes. As to the Incident at the Gaming Hell, the Episode at the Brothel, the Aborted Duel with Lord Bentwhistle, and my slightly higher-than-normal rate of Broken Engagements—I merely point out that Gentlemen engage in these Activities with Impunity (except, that is, for Breaking Engagements, which a Gentleman May Not Do—but a Girl is Entitled to Change her Mind, and it is better than making a FATAL ERROR, resulting in a Lifetime’s Misery).
Sadly, a Young Lady who Thinks Independently might as well be a Scarlet Woman, for the Fuss the World—not to mention her Parents and Step-Grandparents—make. We live, alas, in Benighted Times, and when you consider how frequently I am sent into Exile—on the Smallest Provocation—you will be amazed at my finding the Time, let alone mustering the Energy and Inventiveness, to Control Lisle’s Lunatic Parents.
Furthermore, whatever else I may be (and upon this Topic, Opinion remains divided), I am not a Fool. I am well aware that the woman who gives her Heart to the Earl of Lisle is Destined for Despair, because the LOVE OF HIS LIFE is and always will be Egypt. True, he, like every other Man, has only ONE THING on his Mind when an Attractive Woman happens into View. His Masculine Interest, however intense, (well, he is Intense about everything) is Short-Lived. Should he catch sight of a smelly, crumbling Mummy or a ragged bit of Papyrus or even one of those little Wooden People he sends me from time to time, Aphrodite herself could not obtain his Undivided Attention, even if she appeared Naked on a large Shell.
It does not matter, you see, that he has grown shockingly handsome in Ten Years, or Dangerously Adept at Seduction. No Woman who knows him—and who knows him better than I do?—would allow herself to Succumb to him.
My interests, I assure you, are strictly Philanthropic. His Demented Parents have embarked on a Scheme certain to destroy his happiness, with possibly FATAL RESULTS. Since he can’t manage them, it is my Duty as his Friend to SAVE HIM. Yes, I know he doesn’t want to be saved, but that doesn’t Signify. Men never know what’s Good for them.
P.S. I pray that your Gentle Readers will not allow my little Correction to dissuade them from reading Madam Chase’s book. We women must support our Lady Novelists—heaven knows no one else will. The book, at any rate, is not Completely Without Merit, containing as it does some Amusing Bits and several Scenes of Impropriety nearly as Educational as Fanny Hill.
So there you have it, from Olivia herself. Loretta Chase's newest novel Last Night's Scandal provides entertainment (and an education) on the finer points of how a Georgian lady goes about tackling "Quests for Knowledge and Experience" while attempting, in her own way, to save her ... friend. Want to read more about Lady Olivia and Lord Lisle? Here is a Most Wonderful EXCERPT from Last Night's Scandal, a Top Pick! historical romance available now.